The people deserve more respect from their politicians

According to Hansard, Western Australia’s Opposition Minister for Local Government, Tony Krsticevic put a Question on Notice to the Government about WorkSafe WA’s activities and meetings in relation to the City of Perth. The Council is currently undergoing an independent inquiry into its governance and workplace behaviours.  The investigation is scheduled to take 12 months.

Krsticevic asked:

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Toughen up, Princess

Today the Medical Journal of Australia released a media statement entitled:

“FIFO workers’ psychological distress “alarming””

What is more alarming is that the levels of psychological distress have remained high even though there have been inquiries into the mental health of Fly-In Fly-Out workers in Western Australia and Queensland since 2014!!

Western Australian research undertaken by

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Rebooting the Duty of Care

The primary occupational health and safety (OHS) duty rests with employers or, as they are known in most Australian jurisdictions, Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU).  Laws are based on an assumption that employers are aware of this duty and that this duty, to provide a safe and healthy work environment without risks to health, reflects the employer’s social position and social responsibility or the company’s “social licence“.  But there have always been employers who do not care and who see employees only as units of labour and who believe that “if you don’t like working here, there’s the door”.  It is time for a reboot.

Many Western countries are beginning to review their OHS laws in light of the changing nature of work but these reviews continue to be based on the assumption that employers care even though the emergence of the gig economy and the new

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The avoidance of accountability creates legislation

This week the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) released its submission to the Independent Review of Work Health and Safety Laws.  The submission deserves reading fully as it reflects many of the positions on and perspectives of occupational health and safety (OHS) of Australia’s major businesses and, not surprisingly, it has a lot to say about Industrial Manslaughter laws.

Comparing  ACCI’s objections to the earlier attempt to introduce similar laws in Victoria in 2002 illustrates how little progress has been made.

Recent lessons from other major incidents, especially through the work of Professor Andrew Hopkins, have also shown the consequences of not taking responsibility for OHS.  The power to counter the calls for Industrial Manslaughter laws is in the hands of those corporate leaders who accept this responsibility and work with it.

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Why are we arguing about Industrial Manslaughter laws?

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From left: Dave Brownlee, Janine Brownlee & Lana Cormie

On the issue of Industrial Manslaughter laws, Lana Cormie (pictured far right) said:

“Employers need to have motivation to do the right thing, ’cause clearly they don’t do it off their own back.  So, if that means, if this’ll be the difference between them making OH&S a high priority and not, then it needs to be done.  And I think all the other benefits for the men on the ground, and the women on the ground, will filter down from that.  “

Her comments on International Workers Memorial Day emphasises that the introduction of these laws is not so much about new laws but the failure of the existing ones and of their application.  Over time, the general commitment to implementing occupational health and safety (OHS) has declined in many workplaces or, at least, has not progressed in the way expected by the safety law makers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Government has relied on the increase of financial penalties as the major deterrent Continue reading “Why are we arguing about Industrial Manslaughter laws?”